Gangs of London Q&A — Orli Shuka On Luan Harnessing His Rage to Survive
In Gangs of London, Orli Shuka plays Luan Dushaj, who's equal parts unyielding Albanian mafia boss and tender family man. In this interview with amc.com, Shuka talks about why he was drawn to this project, embracing a gangster's humanity, and why Mosi is so problematic for Luan.
Q: What initially drew you to Gangs of London and the role of Luan?
A: It was my agent who initially linked me to the project, and in turn to Luan. But the somewhat routine joy of a call from my agent, was nowhere near the excitement I got from the idea of working on a big Sky production. Upon reading the script, I became intrigued and invested in Luan's character. Having played gangster roles previously, I knew that this role would require me to step up my performance. I wanted to ensure that all the nuances and facets of Luan's character and personality were apparent—and credible to the audience.
Q: How did you and the creative team bring Luan to life? Do you remember making specific choices in your portrayal of him?
A: I was initially interested to hear from the director on his vision for Luan, but at the same time I had already started to create Luan's personality in my mind. Based on that, I asked the director to allow me to show him my vision of Luan. Thankfully he was very gracious and trusting, and that's how we started.
Q: Did Gareth Evans and Matt Flannery give you any interesting background information about him and his business that stuck with you?
A: All of their initial suggestions and information gave me the skeleton I needed to begin to create Luan. I coupled that with research, and it resulted in the Luan everyone hates to love!
Q: Luan is the quintessential family man, yet he had a hand in wiping out an entire Albanian family for Finn. How did you reconcile these two sides of him? How do you think he reconciles them?
A: Even for a normal person in real life, it's not easy to balance life and career. You try to make choices that prioritize the happiness of your family, and you set goals to achieve that. It seems irrational to think a gangster could achieve that balance, but gangsters are humans. They go shopping, they take their kids to school, they love their families—this is where acting plays its role. I was keen to make Luan feel confident, organized, calculative, and fiercely determined, but at the same time he's an equally loving husband, father, and family man.
Q: As the head of the Albanian mob, Luan is obviously familiar with a life of crime, but when he interacts with Mosi he seems very unsettled. Why do you think Mosi sets him on edge right from the start?
A: Luan senses that Mosi has less respect for the boundaries Luan follows. Plus, there's the fact that Mosi has a different cultural background from him. Being a gangster from Nigeria—that's a world away from what Luan knows. He feels that Mosi is used to operating in an environment where law and order is not the same as it is in London. Luan thinks Mosi is a worrying combination. He's audacious and unflinching. This all makes Luan understand that to stay ahead of the game he must be proactive rather than reactive.
Q: The fight scene between Luan and Mosi is one of the craziest in the whole series. What were your first thoughts when you saw that scene in the script?
A: When you read your script, usually there's very little information detailing a fight scene. Thankfully, the director and stunt coordinator are the brains behind all the exhilarating choreography. For Luan, room 47 was potentially the last stop of his life. He went from a man literally and figuratively on his knees, to unleashing his inner ruthless survival instincts to fight for his life. Saving himself was his focus amidst the absolute carnage and chaos of room 47. When his family is in danger, Luan digs deep and always finds a solution.
Q: What was the process like staging and filming that fight sequence?
A: These kind of scenes need huge preparation to make them feel unstaged and spontaneous, but I think the answer to this question is revealed in the scene itself. We did it in four to five hours as a whole team. It was a collaboration between our great cast and brilliant stunt team.
Q: Mosi has been dispatched, but presumably that's not the end of Luan's problems. Where do you hope to see him go from here?
A: My hopes are that Season 2 will reinforce that Luan is as strong, if not stronger, than before. I'm sure the fantastic creative team will write some brilliant twists for him!
Gangs of London airs Sundays at 10/9c AMC. Check out the full schedule here. Full episodes are available to stream now on amc.com, the AMC apps for mobile and devices, and on AMC+. The entire first season is available to watch now with AMC+, which is available through a variety of providers, including AppleTV, Prime Video Channels, DirectTV, Dish, Roku Channel, Sling, and Xfinity. Sign up for AMC+ to stream Gangs of London now on amc.com, on mobile for iOS and Android devices, and on your TV streaming device with the AMC app, available for Roku, Apple TV, FireTV, Xbox One, Android TV, and Chromecast.
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